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    What's the best way to clean compound from your metals such as steel, aluminum, and pot metal before placing in bath ?

  • #2
    The best way is with ultrasonics (with heat). Buffing grease is amazingly stubborn to remove. It is deceiving. You think soak cleaning has removed it, because you don't see it. But the invisible film hangs around and causes plating catastrophes. If you don't use ultrasonics, you are going to have to find a very strong immersion cleaner for plating, and/or plan on spending a ton of time with trial and error with a toothbrush scrubbing the part over and over till it's clean. Then pay close attention to the waterbreak test.

    I usually set the heat up as high as it will go on the ultrasonic cleaner. If you get an ultrasonic without heat control, that's ok. Just use one of Caswell's quartz rods to heat up the solution to around 140-150F.

    I fell into the trap of thinking I had sufficiently cleaned my parts until I learned after buffing that the nickel just flew off the part. So much effort goes into prepping parts for restoration that there is no way I will let that happen again. If your parts are small, like jewelry items, you can buy a small ultrasonic jewelry cleaner from WalMart. If they are very large, the price goes up. But if you are serious about cleaning, you really have to consider ultrasonics.

    Branson makes some good cleaners for this purpose which they sell for use with ultrasonic systems.

    Pot metal's a whole different story. The need for ultrasonics applies equally well here, but pls read the posts on pot metal before attempting it.

    I actually now use an ultrasonic cleaner and use plastic containers which I put inside the ultrasonic tank. I then fill the tank up around the container to the fill line with water and the water passes the signal on to the little plastic container inside the ultrasonic tank. If I need a light duty less harsh cleaner, I just switch out the plastic container and then I don't have to hassle with emptying the ultrasonic tank all the time. It's like having multiple ultrasonic cleaners!

    Kind regards,